The Meaning of
As a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, you are part of something bigger than yourself.
You are a member of a profession that holds itself to high standards of conduct, practice, and qualification and strives to serve the public as well as the U.S. actuarial profession. The Academy’s work in professionalism and public policy provides valuable benefits to every member of our profession.
Your reputation and that of the actuarial profession are important, and you help maintain and reinforce both by adhering to and promoting the actuarial standards of practice, the Code of Professional Conduct, and the U.S. Qualification Standards—as well as the objectivity and independence the Academy are known for—when you provide actuarial services. In turn, the Academy provides the policies, procedures, and culture that further reinforce the profession’s reputation.
New in 2021
In this period of continued uncertainty, the Academy remained steadfast in providing objective, independent analysis of issues stemming from the global pandemic. The Academy issued several initiatives this year in an effort to educate and engage the public we serve while keeping actuaries aware of these important efforts.
- Following up on the COVID-19-related content in 2020, the Academy in 2021 provided some frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding insights on COVID-19’s potential effects on loss reserving and financial reporting for property/casualty actuaries, and issue briefs on considerations around the pandemic and long-term care insurance, auto insurance, telehealth, medical professional liability, and Social Security. We also hosted practice-specific webinars which included discussion on the implications of the pandemic and maintained a resource page with links to many COVID-19 information resources.
- With in-person conferences and other events curtailed across the country due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy invested in its commitment to offer relevant virtual continuing education (CE) opportunities to fulfill your professionalism obligations, which are essential to maintaining the public’s trust in our profession.
- The Academy expanded its focus on important public policy issues pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion as illustrated by the letters and presentations to the NAIC, and other comments, and work by the Health Equity Work Group on the Academy’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion webpage.
- The Academy developed and released a collection of papers combined together into a Cyber Risk Toolkit, which is intended to be a resource for interested readers of the general public, public policymakers, the actuarial profession, the insurance sector, and other stakeholders. Cyber risk issues have become a regular news item, and those using the toolkit can benefit from the perspectives offered in the Toolkit.
- The Academy released an original research paper on International Regulatory Capital Requirements and scalar methodologies. Scalars are a central part of efforts to develop capital adequacy measures for financial groups that operate businesses in more than one country and/or more than one industry.
- The Academy Board continued to enhance the Academy’s service to members and delivery of resources focused on elevating professionalism and providing independent and objective information to public policymakers. Among the enhancements, the Council on Professionalism is now known as the Council on Professionalism and Education (COPE). This change reflects the renewed attention to education that aids actuaries in upholding the U.S.-based professionalism standards and compliance with U.S.-based laws and regulations as a vital function of the Academy.
Your membership reinforces and reflects the profession’s self-regulatory structure that is housed at and maintained by the Academy. Through our important professionalism resources, bodies, and activities, the Academy enhances the value of your credential, the professional reputation and independence of the actuarial profession.
Academy membership also provides you with the ability to support and maintain the high level of professionalism we expect of one another by providing the structure and process that enables the:
In May, the Committee on Professional Responsibility (COPR) released a discussion paper. Professionalism for the Solo Actuary is intended to assist solo practicing actuaries or actuaries practicing in small firms with respect to situations that they may encounter in providing actuarial services. Then in November, the COPR released another new paper to foster discussion among members of the profession—Explaining Professionalism to Principals is intended to help actuaries think proactively about professionalism and how to explain its importance to the work they do.
As it does each year, the Academy has held professionalism webinars in 2021 to help members stay current on developments in the world of actuarial professionalism—and earn necessary professionalism continuing education (CE) at the same time. Members also have free and unlimited access to the Academy’s entire library of professionalism webinars, which date back to September 2007. So far this year, the Academy presented the following webinars:
- How to Read an ASOP—and Other Nuggets from ASOP No. 1
- U.S. Qualification Standards: Second Exposure Draft and More
- Self-Regulation and the Actuarial Profession
Each month in Actuarial Update, members can read “Professionalism Counts,” a column that contains news and information germane to actuaries in all practice areas. Throughout the year, “Professionalism Counts” offers tips and reminders that help members keep professionalism front and center. Recent examples include:
- “Am I Qualified? Look in the Mirror” (August 2021)
- “Your Role in the Standard-Setting Process” (June 2021)
- “Conflicts of Interest: Transparency Is Key” (February 2021)
The Academy is dedicated to providing objective and independent actuarial input into the public policy development process and with bringing awareness to its members of this critical work. In 2021, Academy committees and work groups offered policymakers and regulators actuarial perspectives on (just to mention a few):
- Casualty issues including business interruption coverage in a pandemic, underwriting risk-based capital factors, and the consumer cost and affordability of auto insurance
- Health issues including long-term care public and private insurance reforms, valuing retiree health benefit plans, and new surprise billing regulations
- Life issues including principle-based reserving for fixed annuities, economic scenario generators, and asset adequacy testing
- Pension issues including individual equity and social adequacy in Social Security, pooled employer plans, and multiemployer plan reforms and financial assistance
- Risk management and financial reporting issues including insurance capital standards, climate risk disclosures, and big data and algorithms in actuarial modeling
And even though most congressional staffers were doing their jobs remotely, that didn’t stop the Health and Pension Practice Councils’ annual “Hill Visits” from happening in 2021—virtually this year.
When the Academy is invited to testify before congressional committees and state and federal regulatory bodies, it assures that the actuarial perspective is a part of important policy development considerations. And when an actuarial viewpoint in the debate would be helpful on a particular issue in the public sphere, the Academy weighs in—in a nonpartisan, objective way, of course. The Academy’s credibility on public policy issues reflects positively on and to the credibility of our members.
And the Academy makes sure that its members are kept informed of state and federal legislation and regulations relevant to actuarial practice, through practice-specific and cross-practice Academy Alerts, through StateScan, a portal that highlights state legislation and regulation across the country that may be of interest to Academy members, and through practice-specific publications—Casualty Quarterly; HealthCheck; Life Perspectives; and The Retirement Report.
Tools & Resources
As a member of the American Academy of Actuaries, you benefit from the breadth of educational opportunities and public-facing initiatives. Here just a few undertaken in 2021.
As part of its mission to serve the public, the Academy released or revised several new tools of significant interest to the public at large in 2021, including:
The Actuaries Climate Index ® (ACI) is an educational tool designed to help inform actuaries, public policymakers, and the general public about climate trends and some of the potential impacts of a changing climate on the United States and Canada. The index is an objective measure of observed changes in extreme weather and sea levels. The Academy sponsors the ACI with the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, Casualty Actuarial Society, and Society of Actuaries.
The Actuaries Climate Risk Index (ACRI) provides research associating dollar estimates of property losses in the United States with changes in extreme weather. The Academy released the ACRI to provide that objective and independent analysis to assist in answering the question: Are the extreme weather conditions that result from a changing climate producing increased property losses?
The Life and Health Valuation Law Manual and the Property/Casualty Loss Reserve Law Manual, available annually for purchase, help actuaries comply with NAIC requirements and individual state laws and regulations.
The actuarial profession is constantly challenged to be current—and Academy membership provides you access to informative and insightful membership publications to help you stay abreast of the latest trends in all areas of actuarial practice, not just the area in which you practice.
- Contingencies, the Academy’s award-winning bimonthly magazine of the U.S. actuarial profession, offers diverse perspectives and innovative ideas across all practice areas.
- Actuarial Update, the monthly newsletter that covers the latest actuarial public policy and professionalism news and issues, highlighting Academy activities in these areas.
- And every Friday, This Week compiles a week’s worth of breaking news, updates, events, and media coverage in one convenient, easy-to-read publication.
Webinars, Seminars, and Events—Virtual, Hybrid, and In-Person in 2021
Members have access to numerous professionalism and public policy educational events, ranging from webinars to in-depth, hands-on seminars. The Academy in 2020 and 2021 adapted its offerings to formats to meet your needs, first by expanding the number of webinars and moving our highly regarded seminars to virtual or hybrid events, and then by following local and national public health guidelines for in-person gatherings for certain events.
Content for these events span all practice areas and a feature a wide variety of subjects relating to public policy and professionalism:
In addition, members have access to a library of archived webinars; reviewing the materials can provide no-cost continuing education (CE) credits.
Members are afforded multiple opportunities each year to volunteer for the Academy—it’s a great way to give back to the profession and to have an impact on public policy.
Advantages of volunteering include the opportunity to broaden professional relationships, gain technical expertise, and improve leadership skills, thereby benefiting one’s employer as well as the actuary's own professional development. Volunteer work may also provide continuing education credits.
Serving on an Academy committee is a great way to learn and share with other professionals who truly understand the challenges and rewards of the profession. The collective experience of Academy members provides a solid foundation of support.
Renew Your Membership
Don’t miss out on all these valuable member resources and opportunities. Make sure you can share in the professionalism and public policy mission of the Academy by renewing your membership today.
To pay your dues without logging in, simply click the link in the email from Maryellen Coggins that brought you to this page. To review and modify your membership information before paying your dues, go to the members-only page of the Academy website. Log in with your user ID and password and follow the instructions to pay your dues.